"My dream is that every child will have access to quality, play based environments that enhance and expand their abilities. That parents along with society as a whole would understand the positive benefits and value of quality early learning experiences."
- Michelle Martucci, Owner of Oakland Academy preschool in Sunrise, FL. NAEYC member since 2003.
Tell us about your work with young children:
I am the owner Oakland Academy, a small preschool in Sunrise, FL. We recently celebrated our 15th year!
I teach a pre-k class. Our program also serves newborns through grade 5, in our after school group. We are play-based. We recognize that we all learn best through doing. Our team of early childhood educators are all dedicated to the concept of learning through play. We make an effort to design the daily activities to coincide with the needs of the individual children.
Why did you become a member?
For the benefits, such as life insurance and journal subscriptions! NAEYC’s unique publications feed my avid curiosity for how we can improve and grow in how we teach young children.
How has NAEYC impacted your career and influenced your work with young children?
Developmentally Appropriate Practice is pretty much my guide for the school. I use the DAP guidelines to train and teach new staff. I rely on the journals and articles to keep me focused on what direction I need to keep for my school. By using DAP as a barometer to measure against, we can continue to make improvements in our teaching.
What is your favorite NAEYC member benefit?
I enjoy the NAEYC journals because of all the great information about early childhood education. I use ALL of the publications to educate my staff and require everyone to read them and sign off when they are finished. If there is something important to me I use the articles to teach and train in a specific area. Recent articles about math, and outdoor spaces are examples.
What is your dream for the future of early-childhood education?
My dream is that every child will have access to quality, play based environments that enhance and expand their abilities. That parents along with society as a whole would understand the positive benefits and value of quality early learning experiences. My dream is that legislators and decision makers will prioritize education for young children as a top priority.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The children. My time in the classroom is so enjoyable. Because my role in the school is multifaceted, my time with the children helps keep me balanced and focused. They allow me to enjoy learning! It is always new and exciting through their eyes! It never ceases to be fun to be there when a child waves with newly developed coordination, shows off artwork or simply shares conversations from their day.
Describe your perfect day.
Teaching, singing, painting, building, discovering, wondering, laughing, and making friends. The best part of everyday is at the end, when I get to go home and relive it all over again by sharing stories about my day with my family.
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Vivian Paley Gussin. I love reading her books. I am trying to “do” stories just like her! This year instead of the children bringing in toys for show n tell, I created "Show n Tell Stories”. Throughout the week the children are invited into the art center where they create picture stories, which are recorded for the children to watch. After the story is shared it is added to that child's storybook. At the end of the year their collection will go home, bound, as a classroom memento.